19 MAY 1961, Page 14

SIR,—AS a hospital consultant in a non-teaching hospital, I welcome

the publicity you have given to Mrs. Catling's disturbing article. It rings absolutely true, and though she arrives at some wrong assump- tions they are understandable, and do not impair its essential: the slum-like nature of the so-called hos- pital she was admitted to, the animal life which it contained and possibly only emerged at night, the complete lack of organisation for emergencies, and the delays. With the general practitioner having communicated beforehand with the hospital it was quite wrong for the patient to lie about in Casualty at all, she should have been admitted to the Ward.

I saw no reason to doubt Mrs. Calling's descrip- tion of the floor scintillating with whitish bugs. Nine- tenths of the non-teaching hospitals of this country are still very much as they were before the Health Act came into force, and the only effect of the Health Service has been to paralyse local initiative, so that they have been left as they were before, dirty, smelly, cramped and totally unsuitable for their work.

From what Mrs. Catling says about the so-called hospital she was admitted to, it sounds like a con- verted poor-law institution. Judging by the scepticism about Mrs. Calling's little bugs I should imagine that her critics have never been in one of these slummy hospitals at night.--Yours faithfully, 2 Queen's .Square, Lancaster

It. 1101 MEI!